Radial growth and carbohydrate levels in the lichen Parmelia conspersa on north and south facing rock surfaces

Armstrong, Richard A. Radial growth and carbohydrate levels in the lichen Parmelia conspersa on north and south facing rock surfaces. Symbiosis, 15 (1-2), pp. 27-49.

Abstract

Parmelia conspersa (Ehrh. Ex Ach.)Ach. is a foliose lichen found more frequently on south facing compared with north facing rock surfaces in South Gwynedd, Wales, UK. The radial growth of thalli of P. conspersa from a north and a south facing rock surface was measured in situ at intervals of two months for 1 yr during 1990/1991. Mean annual radial growth rates were greater on the south compared with the north facing rock surface. In addition, the pattern of radial growth varied during the year with maximum growth recorded in the Feb/Mar. period especially on the south facing rock surface. The levels of ribitol, arabitol and mannitol were measured in individual lobes of P. conspersa collected from the same rock surfaces on 4 days (2 Jun; 7 July and 30 Nov. 1990 and 29 Mar. 1991) during 1990/1991. The total of the three carbohydrates varied between days; the levels of arbitol and ribitol being significantly lower in the 7 July sample on both north and south facing rock surfaces. In addition, the levels ribitol, arabitol and mannitol were higher on the south facing rock surface especially in the summer samples. The ratio of arabitol plus mannitol to ribitol and the mannitol/arabitol ratio varied more between days sampled than between north and south facing rock surfaces. The level of ribitol in individual thalli was positively correlated with arabitol on the north facing and with mannitol on the south facing slope. These results suggest that differences in the radial growth of P. conspersa thalli with aspect are more likely to reflect higher rates of photosynthesis on the south facing rock surface rather than large difference in the way carbohydrates were partitioned on the different surfaces. Lower radial growth rates may place P. conspersa at a competitive disadvantage on north facing rock surfaces.

Divisions: Life & Health Sciences > Optometry
Life & Health Sciences > Ophthalmic Research Group
Life & Health Sciences > Health Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parmelia conspersa,radial growth,carbohydrates,rock surface,aspect

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